Things Antiochian...

In late February a decision came down from the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of all Bishops in the Patriarchate. The effect of that decision has been to reduce every Bishop not currently a Metropolitan to "auxiliary" status. This largely affects the Bishops in the United States, who, according to the agreement for self rule, had been enthroned as diocesan Bishops and now are faced with returning to the status of being functionaries for our Metropolitan.

The fallout has been passionate where discussion is occurring and there are many questions being asked as people are trying to make sense of the implications of this with little official information to use as sources. Some deep disagreements have been exposed. Personal issues that have simmered for some time are bubbling to the surface. And there are lot of anonymous www posts floating through the blogosphere. Feelings are hurt and people are confused. It may be a rough few months before the Archdiocesan Convention this summer and the convention itself, who knows?

The hardest part for me is that I still don't have something I can tell my people that has any substance. I know what happened but I don't know why. There seems to be a fog of byzantine intrigue in all of this and some cryptic statements neither of which help when I want to guide my own heart and those I care for through these times. It matters when you change the structure of a whole archdiocese and I wish I knew the facts behind the actions from an official source and didn't have to get information from blogs and personal contacts.

That being said it looks like I'll just have to sort it out like everyone else. One thing is certain, I'm not letting this stop me from being Orthodox. I'm here for the long haul and if things get nasty in the Antiochian Archdiocese I'm not giving up my Faith. I'm going to pray always, take a stand when I need to, take my hits if I have to, and ride it out. If you're Antiochian and you're reading this I encourage you to do the same. Scars may come be we will make it through.


s-p said...

Father, If I may be so bold, the best example and pastoral advice you can give to your flock is what my (Antiochian) spiritual father told me, "Forget all that crap and pray."
After being part of quite a bit of Antiochian and now OCA (and a bit of Greek) "Byzantine intrigue" and scandal and archdiocesan weirdness on both a parish and diocesan level, the only thing that matters ultimately for most of us is humility and obedience, not "justice" and fairness or even information. The reality is most of us are only in a position of preaching, blogging or emailing our opinions on the state of affairs and have no power or control over anything. It for most of us merely an exercise in ego and passions. The only "stand" we are called to as Christians is to be Christians under those who are given authority over us whether it is an unjust civil authority or a screwy heirarchy du jour. This too will pass, the Church has survived worse and if a Bishop gets his riassa in a wad over being humbled and humiliated, maybe that says more about his "lust of power" than anything else. That's my "blog" take on the situation...keep peace among your people, stir them to good works, not passions over things they have no control over. That's my 2 cents.

Fr John said...

Actually that's what I've been doing. I've asked my people to pray for our Bishops and that when news comes I'll tell them. I've encouraged them to stay faithful and we'll be okay. On some of the blogs I've seen I've asked people to at least be civil as they discuss this (too often they aren't) and pray. I do wish, though, that there was more official information so I could pass it on.